Phacelia (lat. Phacelia ) is one of the representatives of the Borage family. Plants of this genus can be annuals or perennials. In its natural environment, it grows in sunny areas with loose soil. Phacelia is one of the best siderates, and is also used in horticulture as an ornamental crop.
Inflorescences are large, umbrella. They consist of many wide-bell-shaped flowers with a diameter of 1 cm. The color of the petals is mainly lilac. The flowering of this culture continues for a month, starting in June. The fruit is an oval capsule 0.5 cm long with two brown seeds.
The main advantage of green manure is the ability of phacelia to enrich the soil composition and improve the structure of the substrate in the garden. Many gardeners appreciate it as an excellent honey plant that attracts bees.
Species and varieties
Phacelia bolander ( Phacelia bolanderi ). Variety with thin branching creeping stems. The flowers are bell-shaped, lavender color.
Phacelia spear-shaped ( Phacelia hastata ). Reaches 50 – 60 cm. It has small flowers of a purple hue. The leaf plates are densely covered with white pile, due to this they have a silvery sheen.
Phacelia silky ( Phacelia sericea ). A shrub with one straight or several unbranched stems. Reaches 45 cm in height. On the surface of the stems and foliage there is a light pubescence. Leaf plates are deeply dissected, saturated green color. The flowers of this type of phacelia are small, bell-shaped, lavender in color, with long stamens in the center.
“Ciliosa” – a variety no more than 20 cm high. It has bluish-green foliage with a small pile on the surface. Flowers 1 cm in diameter, purple.
“Verna” – grows up to 30 cm, inflorescences – umbrellas consist of white and lavender flowers.
Tansy-leaved phacelia ( Phacelia tanacetfolia Bentham ). It bears the second name Ryazanskaya. This is an annual variety with a height of 60 – 80 cm. It has a strongly branching green or brown stem. The leaves are alternately arranged, pinnately dissected, attached to short petioles, have an intense green color. The flowers are wide open, bell-shaped, lilac or blue, enclosed in umbrella inflorescences of 30 – 60 pieces each. In total, up to 15 umbrellas can develop on one plant. The life span of a bud is 2 days, after which it fades. Flowering of this variety lasts 1.5 months.
Phacelia pyzhmolistny belongs to the best honey plants and green manure plants. It copes with its functions perfectly, works well on any soil, especially indispensable on acidic soils, as it neutralizes high acidity. This green manure enriches the substrate with such important elements for plants as potassium and nitrogen. It suppresses weeds, suitable for decorating garden areas. It has a strong sweet aroma that attracts bees.
Phacelia silvery ( Phacelia argentea ). Shoots of this species can be ascending and drooping. The height of the bush is 50 cm. The leaf plates are dissected, glossy, covered with white pile, which is why they acquire a silvery sheen. The flowers are broadly bell-shaped, small, light lilac. Inflorescences are lush, umbrella.
Phacelia campanularia ( Phacelia campanularia ). An annual species with thin brittle brown stems. The leaf blades are pinnately dissected, greenish-gray. The flowers are deep blue, 2 cm in diameter, shaped like bells. The most popular variety in ornamental horticulture was the Blue Bonnet phacelia variety with expressive blue flowers.
Phacelia Pursha ( Phacelia purshii ). A variety with straight stems about half a meter long. Numerous leaves add splendor to the bush. Foliage color is dark green. Inflorescences consist of a large number of bell-shaped flowers with a diameter of 3 mm, purple-white color scheme.
This crop is obtained using seeds that are sown on the site. Planting dates for phacelia are early-mid-spring, summer, or before winter. Sowing in the spring is carried out in order to get humus.
Sowing material is planted in open ground immediately after the snow has melted. The first shoots can be observed in a couple of weeks. Plants will quickly grow and turn into a tall green mass. To obtain humus, the grass is mowed and dug up with soil.
If phacelia is needed as a honey plant, its seeds should be sown when stable warm weather sets in. This is best done in the summer months, spreading over the area between the ridges. Faded plants are mowed, the site is again sown with the seeds of this crop.
When sown in autumn, seeds should be sown thicker, since not all seed can successfully endure low winter temperatures and sprout. Phacelia seeds are mixed with sand before sowing so that they are visible on the ground, this will allow them to be evenly distributed over the site.
Landing and care
Preparation for planting includes a number of standard works: digging the selected area, leveling it with a rake, watering. Seeds are scattered on moist soil. At the same time, it is not necessary to deepen them, they will successfully ascend without it.
If planting is planned between the rows, shallow furrows are made on the site, they are filled with water, they wait until the moisture is completely absorbed. Sowing material is planted in moist soil, sprinkled with a layer of earth.
This culture is hardy and unpretentious to the conditions of detention. Care for phacelia after planting in open ground consists of a minimum of necessary measures during the period when the seedlings grow and gain strength. Adult specimens do not need care.
- Watering. If the plant was planted before winter and sprouted with the onset of spring, it will not need to be watered, since the soil is already sufficiently saturated with moisture. In summer, the bush is irrigated only in extreme heat and drought. On normal days, watering is not necessary. After watering, loosen the soil so that the roots are saturated with oxygen, and remove weeds so that it does not take away nutrients from the plant.
- Topdressing. For active growth of green mass and the formation of lush inflorescences, phacelia is periodically fed with organic fertilizers. The dosage is chosen according to the instructions. Agrotechnics for growing phacelia involves fertilizing twice a season with an interval of two weeks.
- Breeding problems. This plant is extremely rarely exposed to diseases, as it has strong immunity, harmful insects also attack it infrequently. If, nevertheless, the plant is sick, the affected bush must be removed from the site. If the flower was attacked by a spider mite, it is necessary to treat it with an insectoacaricide, for example, Actellik, Vertimek.
If phacelia is grown as green manure, then it should be sown in early spring, and buried when the plant has bloomed.
If you mow the plant later, its parts will have time to coarsen, which will make it difficult to work, slow down the decomposition process and contribute to the development of a favorable environment for the growth of harmful bacteria that can harm the soil and crops located on the site.
Before you start mowing the grass, it is recommended to treat the soil with a special compound that accelerates the decomposition process.
Also, in order to get humus, moisture is needed, so after mowing, you need to water the green manure.
Application in the garden
In addition to the fact that phacelia is an excellent green manure and honey plant, it also performs a decorative function. Varieties of this culture often decorate the garden due to the brightness of the buds and unpretentiousness. The plant successfully blooms even in the shade, so it is suitable for filling voids in the area.
Phacelia is planted in flower beds in the background and in the central part, used to create a rocky garden. Low varieties are suitable for decorating a border, garden path. This flower is also good for making flower arrangements. It harmoniously combines with flax, rudbeckia, calendula, brunner, pushkinia, muscari and others.
These photos show how beautiful the phacelia looks in a flower bed in combination with other flowers:
This plant is versatile because it can perform several functions at the same time. Varieties delight with their diversity and have a pleasant aroma. When breeding this plant, the gardener will receive a lot of positive emotions and feel its great benefits.